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Meet Joe Black (1998)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Romance  |  13 November 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 157,797 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 687 user | 98 critic | 24 from

Death, who takes the form of a young man, asks a media mogul to act as a guide to teach him about life on Earth and in the process he falls in love with his guide's daughter.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 6 more credits »
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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Black / Young Man in Coffee Shop
David S. Howard ...
Eddie Sloane
Lois Kelly-Miller ...
Jahnni St. John ...
Jamaican Woman's Daughter
Richard Clarke ...
Diane Kagan ...
Construction Foreman
Suzanne Hevner ...


Bill Parrish, media tycoon, loving father and still a human being, is about to celebrate his 65th birthday. One morning, he is contacted by the Inevitable - by hallucination, as he thinks. Later, Death itself enters his home and his life, personified in a man's body: Joe Black has arrived. His intention was to take Bill with him, but accidentally, Joe's former host and Bills beautiful daughter Susan have already met. Joe begins to develop certain interest in life on earth as well as in Susan, who has no clue who she's flirting with. Written by Julian Reischl <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Meet Joe Black: Sooner or Later Everyone Does See more »


Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, some sexuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

13 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

¿Conoces a Joe Black?  »

Box Office


$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$15,017,995 (USA) (13 November 1998)


£3,087,979 (UK) (5 February 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During Bill and Susan Parrish's last scene together, the orchestra plays an arrangement of "What a Wonderful World." First recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1968, the song has become a standard. Armstrong's recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. See more »


During the first close up of Susan at the parts the straps of her dress are twisted at the back. They are straightened in the future scenes. See more »


[first lines]
Construction Foreman: Please. Please. Don't worry. Don't worry.
Allison: It's utter chaos around here. And I'm terrified we're running out of time. Am I trying to be too perfect?
See more »


Referenced in Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure (2001) See more »


What A Wonderful World
Written by George David Weiss (as George David Weis) and Bob Thiele
See more »

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User Reviews

A powerful movie about not taking life for granted
12 July 1999 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

It's easy to wake up every day and see what is wrong with your life. Everyone has their vices and their shortcomings. Whether you are a billionaire with a perfect spouse, a cottage, a beach house, nice cars and wonderful parents or if you are a single parent struggling to get by on measly paycheck, we can all find something that is wrong with life. Such is human nature. But what can we do to remedy that situation. What can we do to try and ensure that our life gets better? And is it all really that bad? Meet Joe Black is a movie that asks us to look at ourselves and realize that this life is a gift and one that perhaps is taken for granted a little too much. Meet Joe Black asks us to ask ourselves: is it really all that bad?

Anthony Hopkins plays Bill. Bill is a very successful business man but it is his time. We all have to die one day, it is a part of life. And this is Bill's time. But before he goes, the Grim Reaper pays him a visit and offers him time. That is all. Just time. And in exchange Bill will show Death what it is like to be alive. A bit of an oxymoron for sure but true nonetheless. And what happens when Death starts to learn about what makes our life so precious is really something that has to be seen. Because what we take for granted, he sees as innocent and pure and magical. For instance, peanut butter. Joe Black tastes it and decides that it is the most amazing food that he has ever had in his short existence. And when people are eating their caviar at dinner, he refrains and has more peanut butter. This scene is one of the purest and most honest scenes in the film. Not for what is on the outside, but what it means, what it wants us to see. To me this scene is the microcosm of what the film and what life should be about.

Life is a gift. There are so many wonderful things that we have as human beings that we seem to forget what they are. We are so consumed with other things that at the time seem important but when you look at them closely they are trivial and it's the little things in life that bring us so much joy. Like peanut butter, aka tossing the ball around with your kids, aka. being lazy in the shade with your Collie. The point is that life is serious enough and it isn't until others are gone that we fully comprehend that.

Brad Pitt is perfect, absolutely perfect as Joe Black. He conveys the innocent wonder and pure joy of discovering human elements like the aforementioned peanut butter and more serious issues like falling in love.

Meet Joe Black has been criticized for its length but like all movies that are three hours plus, there is a reason for that. And that is because it has something to say. Something important to say. Meet Joe Black wants us to look at this film and then look at our lives and realize that there is a lot to live for. You just have to get through all the mist and cloudiness and you'll find it again. There is an innocence about how this movie feels and it is such a wonderful picture. It makes you feel good. Good to be in love ( if you are ) good to want to be in love ( if you are not already) and good to be alive.

See this film. It will make you glad that you did. I know I was and my life doesn't seem so bad right now even though there are many things that I could complain about like...... Ah hell, what's the point. Life can only get better. Meet Joe Black helped me see that.

273 of 305 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Am I the only one who found the traffic accident hilarious? bends1
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The beautiful music lifts the film up above it's flaws michaeldmisdale
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